Middle Kingdom v Magic Kingdom: Disney prepares to open first park in China
Thousands of people are expected to stream down Mickey Avenue for the opening of Shanghai Disney resort on Thursday
Snow White, Jack Sparrow and a regiment of gun-toting Stormtroopers will this week welcome visitors to Disneys first theme park in mainland China the fruit of a $5.5bn investment and a two-decade courtship of the Communist partys top leaders.
Shanghai Disney the Middle Kingdoms own Magic Kingdom, a 963-acre fantasyland of mermaids, pirate galleys and Toy Story-themed hotel rooms has been built 18 miles east of Shanghais financial centre on what until just a few decades ago was farmland.
Inside the park, which is the size of nearly 600 football pitches , day trippers will find the largest Disney castle on earth, a pirate-themed stunt show, a Mandarin version of the Lion King Broadway musical and a hair-raising, neon-lit rollercoaster called the TRON Lightcycle Power Run.
To cope with the crowds 10,000 workers will be deployed on the opening day.
Were incredibly excited about what were about to show the world, Disney chief Robert Iger, who has spearheaded the project, told CNBC on the eve of the opening.